3 women doing yoga on a wooden floor with their arms stretched above their heads.

Being active makes you smarter – and other secrets

Could you use a little motivation to make physical activity a habit? Here are six reasons.
It’s a total tune-up: Physical activity reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Breaking a sweat helps manage risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Plus, the impacts your body endures during regular physical activity build bone mass (or prevent its loss), which can help prevent osteoporosis.

It’s a brain booster: Research has shown that your decision-making, productivity, and quick thinking are heightened after just 30 minutes of aerobic activity.

It’s a stress buster: A brisk walk or run takes you away from your stressors physically and mentally, giving you time to re-evaluate. And regular activity can help condition your body to handle stress by improving your self-perception and trait anxiety (how you react to stress), reducing your blood pressure and regulating your heart rate.

It’s a pain reliever: Chronic lower back pain can leave you bedridden and inactive. Yet inactivity may make the situation worse. For some, training the core muscles can help stabilize the back and reduce back pain by improving strength and flexibility. Improving your conditioning is not limited to your back. Talk to your physician to learn if an activity program could help reduce or eliminate some chronic pain.

It’s a sleep aid: Can’t resist hitting the snooze button? Sleep disturbance becomes more common with age, but going short on z’s can cause depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. Getting active can help you fall asleep faster and experience longer periods of slow-wave sleep – key indicators of more restful sleep.

It’s a sex enhancer: Getting active can also help rev up your sexual health by boosting self-perception, delivering a higher level of satisfaction and improving performance and endurance (sex is an aerobic activity, after all).

There are many other benefits of regular physical activity; focusing on the ones that matter to you will help you make it a priority.

But don’t take my word for it! Schedule 30 minutes of activity, in periods as short as 10 minutes, every other day (or more) this month and see how you feel.

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